Kim Miller was accustomed to seeing her father, Billy, on a daily basis. After Kim’s mother died in 2004, Billy moved from Roanoke to Forest to be closer to Kim, her husband and their daughter. “When my daughter was a cheerleader in high school, my dad attended all of her games and competitions with me. He ate dinner with us every night. I spent every Saturday with him watching college football and eating unhealthy appetizers. He was my best friend. He was OUR best friend.”
With advancing dementia, Billy moved to assisted living, and Kim continued to visit with him daily.
In the fall of 2020, Kim’s husband began chemotherapy treatment for an advanced, aggressive form of bladder cancer and was scheduled for radical surgery at the University of Virginia in early December. While Kim was with her husband following his surgery, she received a call that Billy was taken to the emergency department at Centra Lynchburg General Hospital for symptoms of heart failure. Billy’s symptoms deteriorated, and he was referred for palliative care services.
Compounding the dire situation, Billy tested positive for COVID-19, and Kim was faced with a heart-wrenching decision: “How do I risk my husband’s life to be with my dad?”
To say she was devastated is an understatement. “I have never NOT been with my dad when he was sick or needed anything at all. I just could not imagine not being by his side, holding his hand, loving him in his final hours.”
Kim was truly grateful when she received a call from Kimberly Hoilman with Centra’s Palliative Care team. “Kimberly reassured me that dad would be comfortable and I was doing the right thing to keep my husband and family safe. I just don’t know that I can ever express or show how much Kimberly’s voice comforted me.”
Kim describes those who work in hospice and palliative care as an exceptional breed of people and decided to make a gift in their honor to the Centra Foundation.
“I am so grateful that my dad was in your palliative team’s care. I want everyone on the team to know that their kindness will not be forgotten. Thank you from my whole heart from myself and my family.”